1/25/11. Interview with Mary Sojourner, NPR commentator and author of She Bets Her Life and numerous other books. Mary spoke about her own experience with gambling addiction and recovery. She emphasized that women are particularly vulnerable to slot machine gamblingâto the appeal of escaping into âthe zone,â momentarily escaping the stresses and demands of their lives. She discussed the way todayâs slot machines are designed to hook the player through their increased speed of play and their glimmering promises of reward. Many cannot resist the lure of staying âin the zoneââat the slot machineâuntil they have exhausted their resources, âplayed to extinction.â We discussed the essentially predatory nature of the gambling industries, and the addiction of state governments to gambling, as they grow more dependent on gambling revenue to meet state budgets.
Mary also emphasized the possibility of recovery from addiction and the crucial importance of support groups like Gamblers Anonymous. She spoke of âthe holeâ left in the lives of compulsive gamblers when they give up their addictive habitâtheir need for ongoing support and help with the long and inevitably painful process of rebuilding their lives.
A partial recording of the program (the final 20 minutes) is available, though the opening was lost. The recording begins during a discussion about the difficulties facing African-American women drawn into gambling. Mary Sojourner is talking about an African-American women she knew and described in She Bets Her Life.